mostly a linebacker question. understand the 2 middle guys, its the, i think i read, where they call it hog and razor linebackers. from what i understand, hog linebacker is a bigger guy, could almost be an end in the 4-3 defense. the razor linebacker is a lighter, quicker guy that can both rush off the edge and drop back into coverage. i read where at times we might not have to go into nickel defense if this razor linebacker can get into coverage. my question: what prevents the offense from pre snap shifting the tight ends or h backs or both to the other side of the field, now the razor linebacker, the lighter guy, now is defending a power formation to his side. we do this quite a bit on offense pre snap. you can outnumber defenders and put power to the supposedly weaker side of the defense size wise. will our linebackers then swap pre snap? against no huddle teams this might be hard to do.
You can stem or shift your defensive formation. You can flip your linemen as the tight ends flip pre-snap.
The inside linebackers are will and mike. That terminology doesn’t change.
There will be a heavy DE, who can put his hand down and be a fourth DL. He also can play in a two-point stance. You also have the other OLB who is probably a safety type. He could be the nickel, but might not against teams that are heavy tight end fronts. They sub in two tights, or play a formation that is heavy, you are probably going to sub in to match it. None of that changes.
There are so many different ways to combat what you describe. First, you can sub an inside linebacker for your nickel. You can sub out a lineman. And, the basis of the 3-4 is that you have over hanging players for the edge. They slide a linemen down (with the move of the TE), you slide down. There must be some versatility in the true ends in the 3-4, the down linemen on either side of the NT.
The 3-4 is a very good defense against the run. It is very flexible. The 4-3 is not as flexible and is better against the pass.
What I am seeing in the early stages is that this is going to be an attacking scheme, with penetration. The inside linebackers are going to play closer to the line which makes them better blitzers.
One more thought on one of your questions, the mike and the will (the two inside linebackers) can play both spots. Those are VERY similar spots. You cross train them so what you are talking about is not a problem. For example, I don’t think most realized how much Dre played mike linebacker last year and how much Brooks played will. If formation changed with motion, they didn’t have to switch. They just made a call and things rolled. That happens a lot. And, often you don’t want the QB to understand who is playing will and who is playing mike. They are trying to ID them based on formation, but that might not be how the defense plays it.
I think you ask good questions. The key is that the coaches think the 3-4 gives much more flexibility and prevents some blocking schemes to get angles on your down linemen.
Thx clay. Just the type of detailed answer I wanted. I’ve always read where the 3-4 was a better run defense. Seems you can disguise a lot with it. Also I would think if played properly you cover the edges better, jet sweeps etc. can the 3-4 be as effective as the 4-3 in pass defense? I would think so. More speed on the field, better disguises, rush the passer from multiple positions and players.
There are still four players in the back end. You add the nickel, perhaps as an outside linebacker, perhaps after pulling a linemen or an inside linebacker. Can do it multiple ways. The more speed you add at linebacker, the less you need that. But the key to being a better pass defense always starts with pressure on the quarterback. Without a pass rush, there really isn’t much a defensive back can do with today’s pass interference rules. So the ability to send different combinations of rushers – by putting seven men closer to the line – is a big help in pass rush. There are more blitz possibilities out of the 3-4 than the 4-3.
The ultimate answer on defense is to get more speed and quickness on the field. Athletic ability is what destroys an offense. I didn’t think there was enough speed on the field. Clearly, Bielema thought the same thing. Pulling a defensive linemen and adding another linebacker adds a little more speed.
Clay, the last paragraph you wrote hit the nail on the head. The Hogs are going through this defensive scheme change for the sake of change, i.e., to shake things up - it is something you do when the previous defense was not up to snuff. Two defensive assistants were let go - also just to shake things up. The problem was (is) a shortage of SEC talent on the defense. If the talent were already there, there would not have been a change in defensive scheme (the staff would have spent their on something else).